We present this work in honor of the poet’s 60th birthday.

Caridad Atencio
b. 1963


I overcome because I am overwhelmed.
I whip my life into shape,
one tension, one bit of calm at a time,
if I must I give back the distance I run,
if I must I rise and cut something from myself.

I’ve arrived at this hour dragging my body from moment to moment. Surreptitiously I serve up wounded blood.
The story I bear, how will you receive it?
The water I’ve gathered makes itself heard.
Here is the mother who keeps her child
forever in her womb.
And decides she will live, even as she drowns.

Translation by Margaret Randall

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